Stay tuned folks: Watching television is about to get more expensive — again.
Cable and satellite bills are set to rise this fall as those TV service providers begin collecting a mandatory new fee to subsidize local television stations in small markets across Canada.
Cable giant Rogers Communications Inc. is sending a strongly worded letter to customers warning them to expect a new charge worth 1.5 per cent of their recurring TV monthly service fee starting in September. The cost relates to the Local Programming Improvement Fund, created by the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission to subsidize stations in markets of less than one million people.
Rogers will dub it the “CRTC LPIF fee” on its invoices. That not-so-subtle tactic comes as the industry prepares for upcoming CRTC hearings on the contentious fee-for-carriage issue, which could further inflate bills by about $6.50 a month in Toronto.
“The message is: You should be vigilant, consumers, about how much governments are imposing on you,” Rogers’ vice-chair Phil Lind said yesterday.
The new fee marks the second fee hike for Rogers’ customers in 2009. In March, Rogers raised prices on several cable packages.